The blue screen of death (BSOD), is the informal name given by users to the Windows general protection fault (GPF) error. Named in honor of the error's dreaded display image of white text on a blue background, the BSOD is generated by the operating system when it has suddenly terminated with an error. The system locks up and must be rebooted. The blue screen may include some hexadecimal values from a core dump that can potentially be used to determine what caused the crash.
The blue screen of death can strike anyone, anywhere. At the Comdex trade show, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates encountered the blue screen during a demonstration of Windows 98. (He had a spare computer standing by.)